A 75-year-old Polk County man has died of COVID-19, the Florida Department of Health reported today. It was the county’s 23rd death from the disease. Another new report show that 82 current cases of the disease are affiliated with Highlands Lake Center in south Lakeland.

The man who died had been living with the disease for more than a month; it was confirmed March 28. He had not traveled recently but had been in contact with another COVID-19 case, the Health Department reported.

An updated report about cases at long-term-care facilities dated Tuesday reflected an increase in the number of cases from Highlands Lake Center on Lakeland Highlands Road from 58 to 82. The cases include 16 current residents, 47 people who have been transferred away and 19 staff members.

The state’s first report on numbers at each facility, issued earlier this week, showed lower numbers: no cases at the facility, 46 who had transferred away and 12 staff members.

Overall numbers

This morning’s totals compared with the previous day:

  • Polk confirmed cases: 483, an increase of 15
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 198, an increase of 8
  • Polk deaths: 23, an increase of 1
  • Polk hospitalizations: 139, an increase of 12

The numbers of confirmed cases and hospitalizations are cumulative and do not reflect how many people have recovered or have been released from the hospital.

Testing in Polk

  • Total tested: 7,320, an increase of 163 over the previous day
  • Positive: 483, an increase of 15
  • Negative: 6,828
  • Inconclusive: 2
  • Await results: 7

Long-term care facilities

  • Cases involving Polk facilities: 94 were reported today, an increase of 19.
  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 13, no change
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 7 | List

The number of positive cases is likely 10 times the official number, Polk County Health Department Director Joy Jackson told city commissioners recently.

In addition, the numbers of people being tested remains tiny compared with Polk County’s estimated population of 708,000 people. A shortage of test kits means that until recently only people showing severe symptoms and/or high risk were tested.

New Polk County data

The Florida Department of Health recently started releasing a new county-by-county series of charts. Today’s updates:

Click the image to view a larger version
Click the image to view a larger version

More new charts

The Tallahassee Democrat newspaper has some useful new data visualizations that let a user compare COVID-19 cases and deaths between two geographic areas. Information is available for all U.S. states and counties as well as national totals.

The data visualizations were created by Yoonserk Pyun, who previously lived in Lakeland and worked with theledger.com.

This link lets you see comparisons between Polk County and Florida statewide totals. Once there, you can check out other comparisons. Here are two of the four charts available comparing Polk and Florida:

Click image for a larger view
Click image for a larger view

ZIP Codes

Cases in Lakeland ZIP codes:

33801: 10, unchanged
33803: 15, unchanged
33805: 32, unchanged
33809: 14, unchanged
33810: 15, unchanged
33811: 1 to 4
33812: 5, unchanged
33813: 80, unchanged
33815: 7, unchanged

View an interactive ZIP code map here. To find local ZIP code data, click on the “Cases by Zip Code” tab below the map and then scroll to Polk and click. Learn how ZIP code data is reported.

Cases in Polk cities

  • Lakeland, 198
  • Winter Haven, 79
  • Davenport, 52
  • Kissimmee, 34*
  • Bartow, 20
  • Lake Wales, 19
  • Auburndale, 15
  • Haines City, 13
  • Mulberry, 10
  • Fort Meade, 8
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Frostproof, 4
  • Poinciana, 4
  • Dundee, 3
  • Eagle Lake, 2
  • Wahneta, 2
  • Kathleen, 1
  • Babson Park, 1
  • Bradley, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Polk City, 1
  • Lake Hamilton, 1
  • No city named, 1

* While Kissimmee is in Osceola County, the Health Department classifies a portion of east Polk as Kissimmee. It maintains a separate number for the Osceola portion of Kissimmee.

Download the full Florida report released Thursday.

Tracking the cases

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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